We're playing into their hands, and this morning's insightful diary on the almost-Filibuster really tells how the gears are working. It covers the failure of Democrats to stand up and force Republicans to actually filibuster, but it doesn't frame that within the context of how it will be used against us in 2008.
The accusations and framing began well before the 2006 midterm elections. Republican water-carriers Hannity, Rush, etc. harped on the idea that the Democrats would put forth "nothing but investigations." That framing has been repeated literally thousands of times; it continues into the present.
More after the flip..
Here's one example from this summer, courtesy Rush (click if you dare):
The Senate Democrats are all upset that the Iraqi parliament's taking a summer recess. We're in the middle of a war. How can they do this? We're in the middle of a war. And here we've got stunts and nothing being done by our own legislature, our own Congress, nothing but stunts, nothing but investigations, nothing but harassment, nothing of substance, and they have been on vacation all summer. The only difference is I love it when they go on vacation. When they go on vacation, nothing gets done, and one of the best things that can happen to the country is when they're in session or when there is gridlock.
While the Right was in a similar majority of less than 60 in the Senate from 2000 through 2006, for example in 2005, they derided filibusters with requests for "an up or down vote":
For months, Republicans have been saying that the Senate ought to hold an up-or-down vote on each of President Bush’s nominees for the federal courts. We agree. We also think it’s time for senators to go on record in an up-or-down vote on that question.
In reaction to the "nuclear option" (the removal of the filibuster as an option), a compromise was reached in which both parties agreed to filibuster only in 'extreme circumstances':
Fourteen Republican and Democratic senators broke with their party leaders last night to avert a showdown vote over judicial nominees, agreeing to votes on some of President Bush's nominees while preserving the right to filibuster others in "extraordinary circumstances."
Now, Republicans are effectively filibustering at a rate three times higher than ever before. And all that's going to come from it is Republicans will claim to have "told us so," when it comes to Democrats and only seeing investigations come out of the current Congress. It's not like this is secret--a recent item from the Young Turks tells us this:
I had a Republican colleague tell me it is the Republican strategy to try to prevent any accomplishment of the Democratic Congress. That is set in their caucus openly and directly that they don’t intend to allow Democrats to have any legislative successes, and they intend to do it by repeated filibuster.
So, call it out from the rooftops, because most of the stories about Congress' low approval rating include anything about this tactic--as this CBS reporter accurately points out, they usually state that a particular bill "fell short in the Senate," but nothing more. Few people in the mass media are talking about this, so we need to write about it frequently:
Republican Filibusters, the reason Congress is getting nothing done.